Stagecoach has announced ambitious £56m plans to deliver Europe’s largest single investment in electric buses for Greater Manchester.
The first of the planned 105 new zero emissions double-decker buses and associated infrastructure is hoped to go live from summer 2019, delivering a massive boost to local air quality and UK manufacturing, with the new fleet fully in place by early 2020.
Stagecoach, Britain’s biggest bus and coach operator, has pledged to invest £34.6m in the ground-breaking project, which is backed by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, Transport for Greater Manchester and other key organisations.
New Enviro400 EV City vehicles, each with a range of up to 190 miles and capacity to carry around 80 passengers, would be built by the UK’s leading electric bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis using battery and power electronics expertise from automotive company BYD.
Multi-million-pound Investment will also be made in delivering infrastructure and power requirements at depot level. Intelligent chargers will be used to limit loadings on the electricity supply and maximise vehicle availability.
Martin Griffiths, Chief Executive of Stagecoach Group, said: “This game-changing initiative is the biggest single investment in e-bus technology anywhere in Europe. It is a clear sign of our bold ambition to transform Greater Manchester’s bus network.
“Our plans will put Greater Manchester at the forefront of the drive to improve local air quality, and help cement Britain’s position as global leader in manufacturing low-emission vehicles. It is also part of our wider partnership proposals to maximise the potential of the bus network to drive the region’s economy and better connect its communities.
“By working together, bus operators, the Mayor and the region’s local authorities can deliver the quick and sustained improvements we all want to see in Greater Manchester’s bus network, building on the major progress we’ve already made and avoiding unnecessary extra costs to local taxpayers.”
Gary Nolan, chief executive of OneBus, added: “I very much welcome this investment by Stagecoach. This is a clear demonstration of how a genuine partnership between a private sector operator and a range of public sector stakeholders, including the Mayor, TfGM and other local authorities – can have a hugely positive impact on the region’s bus services. I’ve no doubt the travelling public of Greater Manchester will benefit from a greener, quicker, more efficient bus service.”